In Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, Thomas Sowell, one of the foremost conservative public intellectuals in this country, argues that political and ideological struggles have led to dangerous confusion about income inequality in America. Pundits and politically motivated economists trumpet ambiguous statistics and sensational theories while ignoring the true determinant of income inequality: the production of wealth. We cannot properly understand inequality if we focus exclusively on the distribution of wealth and ignore wealth production factors such as geography, demography, and culture. Sowell contends that liberals have a particular interest in misreading the data and chastises them for using income inequality as an argument for the welfare state. Refuting Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman, and others on the left, Sowell draws on accurate empirical data to show that the inequality is not nearly as extreme or sensational as we have been led to believe. Transcending partisanship through a careful examination of data, Wealth, Poverty, and Politics reveals the truth about the most explosive political issue of our time.
How can we make sense of Algeria's post-colonial experience – the tragedy of unfulfilled expectations, the descent into violence, the resurgence of the state? Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics explains why Algeria's domestic political economy unravelled from the mid-1980s, and how the regime eventually managed to regain power and hegemony. Miriam Lowi argues the importance of leadership decisions for political outcomes, and extends the argument to explain the variation in stability in oil-exporting states following economic shocks. Comparing Algeria with Iran, Iraq, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, she asks why some states break down and undergo regime change, while others remain stable, or manage to re-stabilise after a period of instability. In contrast with exclusively structuralist accounts of the rentier state, this book demonstrates, in a fascinating and accessible study, that political stability is a function of the way in which structure and agency combine.
This book is about the great moral issues underlying many of the headline-making political controversies of our times. It is not a comforting book but a book about disturbing and dangerous trends. The Quest for Cosmic Justice shows how confused conceptions of justice end up promoting injustice, how confused conceptions of equality end up promoting inequality, and how the tyranny of social visions prevents many people from confronting the actual consequences of their own beliefs and policies. Those consequences include the steady and dangerous erosion of fundamental principles of freedom -- amounting to a quiet repeal of the American revolution. The Quest for Cosmic Justice is the summation of a lifetime of study and thought about where we as a society are headed -- and why we need to change course before we do irretrievable damage.
This innovative book challenges the most powerful and pervasive ideas concerning political economy, international relations, and ethics in the modern world. Rereading classical authors including Adam Smith, James Steuart, Adam Ferguson, Hegel, and Marx, it provides a systematic and fundamental cultural critique of political economy and critically describes the nature of the mainstream understanding of economics.
Encompassing more than a decade of research around the globe, this book shows that cultural capital has far more impact than politics, prejudice, or genetics on the social and economic fates of minorities, nations, and civilization.
An award-winning professor of economics at MIT and a Harvard University political scientist and economist evaluate the reasons that some nations are poor while others succeed, outlining provocative perspectives that support theories about the importance of institutions.
The rapid spread of the liberal market order across the globe poses a host of new and complex questions for religious believers—indeed, for anyone concerned with the intersection of ethics and economics. Is the market economy, particularly as it affects the poor, fundamentally compatible with Christian moral and social teaching? Or is it in substantial tension with that tradition? In Wealth, Poverty, and Human Destiny, editors Doug Bandow and David L. Schindler bring together some of today’s leading economists, theologians, and social critics to consider whether the triumph of capitalism is a cause for celebration or concern. Michael Novak, Richard John Neuhaus, Max Stackhouse, and other defenders of democratic capitalism marshal a number of arguments in an attempt to show that, among other things, capitalism is more Christian in its foundation and consequences than is conceded by its critics—that, as Stackhouse and Lawrence Stratton write, “the roots of the modern corporation lie in the religious institutions of the West,” and that, as Novak contends, “globalization is the natural ecology” of Christianity. The critics of liberal economics argue, on the other hand, that it is historically and theologically shortsighted to consider the global capitalist order and the liberalism that sustains it as the only available option. Any system which has as its implicit logic that “stable and preserving relationships among people, places, and things do not matter and are of no worth,” in the words of Wendell Berry, should be regarded with grave suspicion by religious believers and all men and women of goodwill. Bandow and Schindler take up these arguments and many others in their responses, which carefully consider the claims of the essayists and thus pave the way for a renewed dialogue on the moral status of capitalism, a dialogue only now re-emerging from under the Cold War rubble. The contributors’ fresh, insightful examinations of the intersection between religion and economics should provoke a healthy debate about the intertwined issues of the market, globalization, human freedom, the family, technology, and democracy.
Thomas Sowell's classic analysis of the opposing visions behind today's ethical and ideological disputes Controversies in politics arise from many sources, but the conflicts that endure for generations or centuries show a remarkably consistent pattern. This revised edition of a classic analyzes the centuries-long debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality, and power. It distinguishes between those with the "constrained" vision, which sees human nature as enduring and self-centered, and the "unconstrained" vision, in which human nature is malleable and perfectible. A Conflict of Visions offers a compelling case that these opposing visions are behind the ethical and ideological disputes of yesterday and today.
The history of nations is a history of haves and have-nots, and as we approach the millennium, the gap between rich and poor countries is widening. In this engrossing and important new work, eminent historian David Landes explores the complex, fascinating and often startling causes of the wealth and poverty of nations. The answers are found not only in the large forces at work in economies: geography, religion, the broad swings of politics, but also in the small surprising details. In Europe, the invention of spectacles doubled the working life of skilled craftsmen, and played a prominent role in the creation of articulated machines, and in China, the failure to adopt the clock fundamentally hindered economic development. The relief of poverty is vital to the survival of us all. As David Landes brilliantly shows, the key to future success lies in understanding the lessons the past has to teach us - lessons uniquely imparted in this groundbreaking and vital book which exemplifies narrative history at its best.
This explosive new book challenges many of the long-prevailing assumptions about blacks, about Jews, about Germans, about slavery, and about education. Plainly written, powerfully reasoned, and backed with a startling array of documented facts, Black Rednecks and White Liberals takes on not only the trendy intellectuals of our times but also such historic interpreters of American life as Alexis de Tocqueville and Frederick Law Olmsted. In a series of long essays, this book presents an in-depth look at key beliefs behind many mistaken and dangerous actions, policies, and trends. It presents eye-opening insights into the historical development of the ghetto culture that is today wrongly seen as a unique black identity - a culture cheered on toward self-destruction by white liberals who consider themselves ''friends'' of blacks. An essay titled ''the Real History of Slavery'' presents a jolting re-examination of that tragic institution and the narrow and distorted way it is too often seen today. The reasons for the venomous hatred of Jews, and of other groups like them in countries around the world, are explored in an essay that asks, ''Are Jews Generic?'' Misconceptions of German history in general, and of the Nazi era in particular, are also re-examined. So too are the inspiring achievements and painful tragedies of black education in the United States. Black Rednecks and White Liberals is the capstone of decades of outstanding research and writing on racial and cultural issues by Thomas Sowell.
The main driver of inequality—returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth—is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty’s findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
This revised edition of Applied Economics is about fifty percent larger than the first edition. It now includes a chapter on the economics of immigration and new sections of other chapters on such topics as the “creative” financing of home-buying that led to the current “subprime” mortgage crisis, the economics of organ transplants, and the political and economic incentives that lead to money earmarked for highways being diverted to mass transit and to a general neglect of infrastructure. On these and other topics, its examples are drawn from around the world. Much material in the first edition has been updated and supplemented. The revised and enlarged edition of Applied Economics retains the easy readability of the first edition, even for people with no prior knowledge of economics.